Ivory Coast questions Ghana’s data in maritime boundary dispute case

Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong in the court roomOn the second day of legal proceedings at the International Tribunal of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany, Ivory Coast is questioning the credibility of data and maps presented by Ghana to justify her claim over the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) fields operated by Tullow Oil.

An external lawyer for Ivory Coast stated that “Ghana cannot be trusted to have independently secured these maps and the data without Ivory Coast having copies” and added that “since these maps are in the sole possession of Ghana they should be prevented from using them in this litigation, because the authenticity of these maps cannot be independently verified.”

Concluding the oral arguments for Cote D’ Ivoire Dr Ibrahima Diaby, Director-General of Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, reiterated the need for the provisional measures to be granted.

“Looking at the written and oral submissions by Cote d’ Ivoire and without prejudice to the decision on the merit of the case, we request this special chamber to prescribe provisional measures that Ghana take  all steps to suspend oil exploration and exploitations in the disputed area. They also want Ghana to “refrain from granting any new permits for oil exploration and exploitation in the disputed area.”

One of the maps Ghana presented in court to support her case

They are also asking that the tribunal directs Ghana to take steps necessary to prevent information that resulted from the past, ongoing or future exploration conducted by Ghana or with its authorization in the disputed area from being used in any way whatever to the detriment of Cote d’ Ivoire.

Cote d’ Ivoire also wants Ghana to desist and refrain from any unilateral action entailing a risk of prejudice to the rights of Cote d’ Ivoire and any unilateral action that might lead to aggravating the dispute. He finally thanked the registrar “for the remarkable quality of their work”.

The Ghanaian team yesterday argued that if the court upholds Ivory Coast’s claim over the oil fields, it would result in a huge loss to Ghana.

Ghana’s legal team opened its defense at the International Tribunal of the law of the Sea (ITLOS) after Ivory Coast sued Ghana, seeking to stop Tullow Oil and its partners from exploring oil over a disputed oil block.

The dispute involves ownership of portions of the country’s second biggest oil field the TEN projects. Ghana will at 3pm on Monday have the opportunity to respond to the statement from the Ivorians and deliver their final statement.

Meanwhile an international law lecturer at the University Of Ghana Dr. Poku Adusei says Ghana should present a compelling argument in order to secure the ruling in her favour.

For him “this preliminary case can be likened to securing an interim injunction in a matter that is before a court, so the court will have to balance the convenience of the case and see who have to suffer more hardship before granting or refusing the order, the more reason why we need to present a more compelling argument.”

By: Raymond Acquah/

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